I hope every parent who knows – not dreams about, but KNOWS – that his or her son or daughter will one day be a professional athlete reads this column.

I hope every parent who knows – not dreams about, but KNOWS – that his or her son or daughter will one day be a professional athlete reads this column.

I’ve been a member of the sports staff at The Examiner nearly three decades and I’ve covered just a handful of prep stars who went on to get paid for their talent.

For every Albert Pujols or Brandon Lloyd, there are countless thousands of youngsters who never even get the chance to play college ball, yet alone sign a professional contract.

That’s why a conversation I had with a close friend Monday night really hit home. I asked him if I could relay some of his words to Examiner readers, and he agreed.

This guy loves sports and loves his kids as much as any dad I know. But he gets it, and sadly, there are way too many parents out there who live in a dream world.

“I had to make the toughest decision of my life as a parent, when it comes to dealing (with my son) and baseball,” my friend said.

“I told him that he’s not playing fall ball.”

While his son loves playing baseball, this dad loves even more watching him.

That’s why I pondered the reason behind this decision.

His son is too young to wreck the family car or gamble the family fortune away. But I knew it had to be something serious.

And it was – two C’s on his grade card.

“At our house, we have a rule,” the dad said, shaking his head, “if you want to play sports, you make A’s and B’s on your grade card.”

His son had been avoiding the issue of grades, and when dad found out about the two C’s, he pulled the plug on fall ball.

“I’d have made him quit right now, but that wouldn’t be fair to his team or his coach,” Dad said. “He begged me to let him play. He said I could take away his cell phone or just about anything I wanted, but I felt like it was time to teach him a lesson – a life lesson.

“I know he’s not going to be a pro player. The chances are so slim, and he has to know that to be successful, you have to be successful in school. He told me he got a 78 in one class and 79 in another – but they’re still C’s and I have to stand my ground.”

How refreshing to have a conversation with an adult who actually realizes that life doesn’t revolve around sports. I’ve seen – or dealt with – every baseball-dad guru or stage mom on the planet, and I find it to be the most unpleasant part of my job. One of my personal heroes is former Blue Springs South girls basketball coach Sheri Rehmer, who admitted that parental disruption led to her resignation.

She was lauded for having the courage to point an accusing finger at the guilty parties.

When I hear parents talk about hiring sports psychologists and strength coaches for their second graders, I want to scream. When I hear them berate a coach, when they know nothing about the sport, I get up and find another seat.

But, during this adult conversation, I wanted to applaud.

“I talked to (my son) about life in terms of baseball,” he said, managing a smile. “I told him that hitting .300 is like making an A or a B. And he got it. I want him to be successful and I think he understands where I’m coming from.

“He doesn’t like it, but he understands it.”

And don’t most parental decisions that involve our children fall under that category?